14 December 2015


Carolyn Charman FICB (“Cally”) was very honoured to have been awarded the ICB Global LUCA Award for “Charity Bookkeeper of the Year 2015” by HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO at a prestigious awards ceremony held in the Princess Anne Theatre at BAFTA last Wednesday, 9th December 2015.

“I have been working in a totally voluntary capacity for Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy (GTCC) as the Honorary Treasurer and Secretary since 2013 and my role is extensive and extremely varied, ranging from the management of all the daily bookkeeping and accounting records, setting and managing the annual budget, administering the payroll and HR, overseeing compliance and statutory obligations to heading up fundraising initiatives, IT procurement and preparing detailed reports and presentations for the Board.   I enjoy the role very much although it has grown considerably since my first involvement and has now become the focal part of my working life alongside a few other key clients. GTCC is perhaps most well-known for the delivery of its Street Angels project within Guildford and is now one of the leading charities nationally who manage similar schemes – indeed we have just been awarded the highly prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the positive contribution we have made in the community.  I am also proud to be one of our 85-strong team of Street Angels, all of whom give their time selflessly and voluntarily.

My previous role as a Finance Director for a large sports marketing company earning a significant salary contrasts greatly with my current role at GTCC where I am unpaid and yet bizarrely I have found greater fulfilment and motivation in providing my services to the voluntary sector.  Success as a bookkeeper is clearly not just defined by a high salary or a practice’s turnover or profit but also by the satisfaction of the employer and/or clients and the opportunity to enhance their objectives.  It’s the quality of the services provided and the “value-addeds” that a good bookkeeper can bring to the table. 

I have always been passionate about the quality and professionalism of bookkeepers in business and commerce but the “unsung heroes” within the voluntary sector now deserve equal recognition.  I feel great pride to have been given this award but there are many charities, small organisations and social enterprises whose mainstay is their treasurer or bookkeeper who not only “keeps the books” but often becomes involved in many other aspects, working tirelessly within their organisation without any financial reward or public acknowledgement.  A good bookkeeper can transform the way an organisation thinks!

In today’s society with ever-increasing government cutbacks and all the diverse challenges that life throws at us, the need for charity intervention, support groups and humanitarian campaigns is now more important than ever.  These organisations rely on donations and contributions from the public and good stewardship of these financial resources is vital in delivering their services and support.  Working capital can be optimised and put to much better use with an enhanced understanding of financial position, the preparation of analytical reports to prioritise and plan, the active management of reserves and good communication both internally and externally.  Often there are also greater restrictions, compliance and other obligations placed on charities which highlights an even greater need for strong financial input and management.  Sadly, within the voluntary sector this capability is often absent or inadequate due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of how a good bookkeeper can transform the financial management and administration of an organisation and subsequently improve its financial stability, focus on key services and plan for growth and longevity.

I am very proud to have been recognised by ICB Global, a professional Institute who represents bookkeepers in over 110 countries and has just announced its own charitable initiative to raise £1M to provide training and support in underdeveloped countries in a bid to unite communities, create opportunities and relieve poverty.  This will involve not just raising cash but also providing free courses and certification, training trainers and a range of other supportive efforts.”

I would like to dedicate my LUCA Award for “Charity Bookkeeper of the Year 2015” to everyone involved in charity work to help others, with special mention to all the Street Angels across the UK but especially my fellow Street Angels in Guildford.  You’re the best! 

I would also like to encourage everyone to consider what they can give in 2016 – just one hour of your time can make a huge difference to someone else! 

Carolyn J Charman FICB MIAB ACICM MInstLM
December 2015       

5 March 2014


Take time to think....then dare to be....

Dare to Be

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!”

(Steve Maraboli - Life, The Truth and Being Free) 

12 June 2013



Recently published by Graham Speechley, Business Leaders Group........
"Don't confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but doesn't make any progress"
- Alfred Montapert
They are all acting like that rocking horse! They keep doing the same thing over and over again moving like fury and yet they stay in the same place. But they look busy and anybody catching a glimpse of them in their daily work would think they are really on task. At the end of the day they're tired. They get up the next day and they busy themselves, repeating the same things they did yesterday.
Who am I talking about? The thousands of people I've seen in offices, factories, shops, some are working for themselves as well. Most of those people are rocking horses not racehorses.
How can you become a thoroughbred racehorse?
The first thing is to decide on your values. Find what is the most important thing in your life. What do you value the most? That's easy. It's what you mostly do. If you say your family is the most valuable thing to you and yet you spend most of the time at your desk or in a bar then you value your desk or the bar more than you value family. If there is a mismatch between what you say and what you do, it's what you do that gives you the answer. If you say you want to be the best business leader in the world but you watch four hours of TV every evening, I can tell you now that you want to watch TV, not to be the best business leader in the world.
Be honest with yourself when you are looking at your values. Don't just set dreams. Dreams are fine but you need to know what really drives you from inside. Don't forget to include your insecurities. Many people include such things as integrity in their values. Is integrity also an insecurity for you? Deciding on your values is the most important thing you can do in life. Unless you know your values, you are destined to be a rocking horse. Well worth some deep thought.
Spend some time thinking about your values. Only when you know them can you possibly set goals for your life and work out the difference for you between motion and progress.
From your values, then you can determine your goals. Your goals must match your values and support them. The SMART goals process which is commonly quoted is fine in some specific circumstances when deciding on small incremental steps toward your main goal but SMART is not enough. Your life goals must be huge, not realistic in the normal sense of the word. If they are realistic, you are setting yourself up for mediocrity. You are setting yourself up for motion rather than progress.
When you have set your goals, you can start to work out where you should be spending your time. You spend your time on things which move you towards your goals which are in line with your values. Analyse where you are spending your time. There are simple tools to help you do this, mainly involving a sheet of paper and a pen. Keep a detailed time log for a week. By detailed I mean accounts each minute of each day. You don't need to go into huge amounts of detail for each activity. Just analyse it simply by looking at each thing you've done and asking "Did this move me towards my goal?" Was in motion or progress?
By using this simple question "Was it motion or progress?", you can decide on every activity. You will need to be systematic in managing yourself. The simple fact is that if you ask yourself this question at each moment when you start or find yourself undertaking an activity, you will be able to decide whether you are a rocking horse or a thoroughbred racehorse.
Be inspired today!
Graham Speechley
Graham Speechley

Business Leaders Group
Oakley House
3 Saxon Way West
Headway Business Park
Northants NN18 9EZ
United Kingdom

© Copyright 2012
Business Leaders Group
- All Rights Reserved.




6 March 2013


One day a little boy walked up to his Dad....
SON: "Daddy, may I ask you a question?"
DAD: "Yeah sure, what is it?"
SON: "Daddy, how much do you make an hour?"
DAD: "That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?"
SON: "I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?"
DAD: "Well if you must know, I make £100 an hour."
SON: "Oh!"
The little boy's head dropped in dismay then suddenly he asked....

SON: "Daddy, may I please borrow £50?"

The father was furious....

DAD: "If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday and have got no time for such childish behaviour."

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier as he reflected on the little boy's questions.
How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think - maybe there was something his son really needed to buy with that £50 and was afraid to ask. His son really didn't ask for money very often so he went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door....

DAD: "Are you asleep son?" 
SON: "No daddy, I'm awake."
DAD: "I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It's been a long day and I took it out  on you. Here's the £50 you asked for."

The little boy sat straight up, smiling....

 SON: "Oh, thank you daddy!"

Then reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up notes. When the man saw that the boy already had money, he started to get angry again.

 DAD: "Why do you want more money if you already have some?"
SON: "Because I didn't have enough, but now I do."
The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father....

SON: "Daddy, I have £100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son and immediately begged for his forgiveness.
This is just a short reminder to all of us working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent quality time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that £100 worth of your time with someone you love. If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days but the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. 

 So remember what is MOST important.....

5 March 2013



On 25th February 2013
two hikers set off enthusiastically in bright sunshine from the car park at the western end of Llyn Ogwen, energised by the prospect of another day bagging some familiar peaks in Snowdonia. 
The previous day had been spent on an arduous ascent and descent of Cadair Idris and Mynedd Moel with patches of ice and snow impeding some of the route but providing perfect preparation for the even more challenging terrain of the Glyderau.  Weather reports were encouraging with no snow or precipitation forecast, minimal wind effects and the prospects of cloud free summits ranking at an encouraging 60-80%.  Based on the previous day’s outing, specific localised mountain weather reports and with no risk of avalanche or significant ice hazards en route, it was intended to ascend Y Garn via the north-east ridge, initially passing the shores of the picturesque Llyn Idwal and then following the very steep ridge round the hanging Cwm Clyd.  After summiting Y Garn, the proposed route descends gently towards the top of the infamous Devil’s Kitchen and precipitous Idwal Slabs, to pass Llyn y Cwm before embarking on the challenging scree slopes on the ascent to Glyder Fawr.  Navigating the summit ridge eastwards to Glyder Fach, the route passes the Castell y Gwynt rock formation and the Cantilever Stone to begin a north-west descent to Llyn Bochlwyd and finally rejoins the path entering the beautiful Cwm Idwal nature reserve, the first official nature reserve in Wales and rightfully deserving of its SSSI status with its geological and botanical features attracting many enquiring minds and intrepid explorers including Charles Darwin.   A wonderful skyline traverse, this route negotiates truly mountainous territory and the forces of nature should never be underestimated. Whilst such a route should never be diminished to anything less than challenging, a day of stunning mountain views, razor sharp edges and gnarly ridges, lonely mountain lakes, exhilarating climbs and energetic legwork was eagerly awaited…..

In extra warm winter attire and with rucksacks carefully packed with plenty of food and drink, extra clothing, winter survival kit, route maps and navigation aids and an array of mobiles on several different networks, an initial pause was made to send the usual text message to a friend to advise departure time, brief details of intended route and estimated time of return back to the car.  As mobile signal was poor, commencement was only initiated once the message had been confirmed as received.
Cwm Idwal beckoned, the partially frozen depths of the Llyn with its imposing backdrop always a photographic delight and further heightened by the sweeping panoramic vistas of the Ogwen Valley, the Ogwen ArĂȘtes and the opposing Carnedd ranges.  It was hard to resist the urge to constantly stop and take photographs of the views, magnificent ice features surrounding the frozen cwms and mountain streams and even the occasional low flying RAF jet on a training exercise.  

Progress was slow up the majestic north-east ridge of Y-Garn with the very steep path obscured in places by ice and fresh snow.  The cloud base was variable but generally a light wind was sweeping the valleys so visibility was predominantly good with only occasional times when the route or peaks were obscured during the first summit approach.  Leaving the modest cairn on the summit after a celebratory snack, the easier terrain around the top of the crags ringing Cwm Clyd shrouded in fresh snow afforded some respite for the legs and a magnificent view of a very frozen Llyn y Cwm.  This area is usually very soft and wet underfoot so the crisp tundra-like conditions made the going easier.

The tough ascent from Llyn y Cwn posed the first real challenge of the day.  Always tough to negotiate at any time of the year, the slope of frozen scree on the steep ascent towards Glyder Fawr provided some good scrambling but valuable time was being eroded from the buffer – the route planned should have taken approximately 4 hours in good weather conditions so an additional 2 hours had been allowed on account of the wintry conditions.  However, crossing a large area of ice on the southerly slopes above the scree and then being slowed by deep snow through the moonscape terrain of the Glyder ridge further hampered progress.  En route to the third summit of the day, Glyder Fach, the cloud base dropped significantly and soon after light snow fall was replaced by blizzardous ice pellets, swirling winds and white-out conditions.  Navigation was difficult and, mindful that disorientation in such conditions is common, the importance of constant route checking against maps and planned headings, GPS waypoints, spot heights and cairns etc. was essential.  Progress became painfully slow and eventually, due to an increasing awareness that daylight hours were being severely eroded, a decision was made to turn around and retrace steps back to familiar territory and descend via the Devils Kitchen.  Unfortunately, in the short time since leaving the slopes of Glyder Fawr, further snow fall had made the conditions underfoot treacherous and virtually impassable – this was now terrain which should only have been safely tackled with crampons.  An ice axe to dig out holds and arrest falls would also have been an invaluable asset.  However, to remain on the Glyder slopes in increasingly perilous conditions would have been foolhardy so it was important to attempt to descend as far as possible taking as much care as possible.  A beautiful pink moon glowed over Llanberis as dusk began to fall on returning to the base of the scree at Llyn y Cwn and spirits lifted as the top of Devils Kitchen yawned into view.

Elation was short lived as a series of emotions followed – relief on returning to the familiar col of Devils Kitchen was rapidly replaced by frustration at trying to distinguish the one safe route down as opposed to the vertical drops down the Idwal slabs and the realisation that this descent was blocked by an ice flow of treacherous proportions in failing light.  Despair loomed – years of mountain climbing had instilled the belief that you should be clear of a mountain at least an hour before dusk and to spend a night in such exposed conditions would be suicidal.  However, given the prevailing conditions and with no mobile phone signal to summon advice or assistance, the only safe option now was to hunker down for the night, wait it out until dawn then continue with an descent at first light.
For years you carry a multitude of survival kit, always hoping and believing you will never need to use anything more than a Compeed and even at times being tempted to leave something back at base to reduce pack weight. Never compromise on safety – even a survival bag costing less than £5, albeit somewhat cumbersome, can save your life! Indeed, once the realisation had set in that it would be necessary to implement an emergency contingency plan, a decision was made to overnight in a 2-man Bothy. 
It had now gone 7pm and finding a suitable site was difficult due to the enveloping darkness, icy rocks, uneven snow-covered ground and swirling winds from all directions, but eventually a small lee by some rocks was selected albeit on sloping ground.  Space was tight with only just enough room for two persons in the bothy so essential supplies (food, drinks, thermos, lights, flashing red beacon, mobile phones etc.) were decanted from the rucksacks which were then deployed as windbreaks outside the bothy.  A survival bag was also unpacked and used as an additional defence against the cold and snow.  Then began the long wait…..

Isolation and exposure in sub-zero temperatures sparked concerns for survival.  Staying warm and dry and maintaining energy levels became the focus to stave off any risks of hypothermia – hot coffee was rationed at 2-hour intervals, high energy snacks shared, alarms set to prevent drifting off into deep sleeps and spirits lifted by telling stories and trying to keep a positive outlook overnight.  It was now down to God to provide a miracle – would the friend acting as an emergency contact alert Mountain Rescue, would the weather revert to forecast and not worsen, could a helicopter land nearby if the clouds cleared and the prevailing winds allowed…..
Sounds of a helicopter’s blades were heard down the valley around midnight but did not get close enough to spark any real aspiration of rescue.  As they faded away into the distance so too did the hope that the ordeal would be curtailed before dawn – it looked like being a long freezing night which would be a true test of endurance and resourcefulness followed by a tiring descent with cold muscle fatigue.
Then, sometime between 1am and 2am, an unfamiliar but welcome sound rendered its way up the valley – on hearing the muffled sounds of a claxon-like horn, a quick response was made vocally and with mountain whistles.  More assertive helicopter sounds could also be heard once again circumnavigating the Glyder range, overflying the rocky crags with its lights occasionally coming into view through the small clear panel which served as a window in the bothy.  The red flashing light outside the bothy was still working and in addition distress signals were also being relayed using white torch lights and mobile phone backlights in different directions.  Adrenaline surged as fresh hope forged its way into the conscious mind.
The “worried friend” who acted as the emergency contact had fulfilled her role brilliantly – not having received news of a safe return from the day’s hike but not wanting to alert Emergency Services unnecessarily she had cautiously waited until 8pm before making the call.  Calmly she had relayed details of the route, timings, assessment of kit carried and general skills, location of the car park and other vital information which enabled the mountain rescue teams to assess the situation and place teams on standby.
At approximately midnight, Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue (OVMRO) had deployed 4 teams on foot on varying approaches to the Glyder summit ridge – via Cwm Tryfan, Cwm Bochlwyd and Cwm Idwal as well as up the Miners Path from Pen y Gwryd Hotel. Sally and Anne together with Spin, a member of the Search And Rescue Dog Association (SARDA), were first to arrive on scene (about 1.30am) and calmly and efficiently began to co-ordinate communications between the other teams and the circling 22 Squadron Sea King helicopter which had been deployed out of RAF Valley to assist. Never before has the sound of other human voices felt so welcoming and comforting or the prospect of warming up a rescue dog in a cramped mountain bothy so endearing!

Time then seemed to speed up as news was received that the Sea King was going to attempt an approach despite the banks of low cloud and windy conditions with the intention of providing an air lift to safety.   Cloud continued to scupper first attempts at an approach but eventually the skilled crew brought the helicopter to a steady hover just west of Llyn y Cwn (appropriately named Lake of the Dog) and just metres away from the temporary bivouac site.  After being quickly winched aboard, strapped in and shrouded in foil blankets, the helicopter banked away to make a sortie to Oggie Base, the home of OVMRO at Bryn Poeth in Capel Curig, where a warm welcome and debrief was provided by other members of the team.  A cauldron of hot soup, a stack of toast and large cups of coffee provided much appreciated warmth and sustenance as the mountain rescue teams returned off the mountains to rendezvous back at base.
As you have probably now guessed, it was me who was one of the mountain hikers on that fateful day accompanied by Graham Palmer, my intrepid friend who deserves the highest praise for his patience when I slowed down and lost valuable time, his continual encouragement when the going got tough, his sacrificial love and care in an extreme mountain environment, his ability to dispel fears that we might not survive the night and his assertive decision-making and leadership at the point when it became inevitable that we were going to have to hunker down in such adverse conditions.

I hope that by telling our story, we can share some of the things we learned along the way and in so doing enhance the enjoyment and safety of other hill walkers whilst also giving recognition to the important emergency rescue teams whose passion for the mountains is evidenced by their professionalism and commitment to the service they provide for those of us unfortunate enough to find ourselves in need – to you we will always be indebted.

Our most grateful thanks go to everyone involved in our safe return down the mountain and we sincerely apologise if our actions inadvertently put anyone at risk that night.  There were many people involved and everyone played an invaluable part in safeguarding our health and well-being and allowing us an opportunity to tell our tale.  We wish we could thank you all by name but sadly we were not able to catch them all during the course of events!

Special thanks go to the following:                                
OVMRO – Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation

 SARDA – Search And Rescue Dogs Association

22 SQUADRON, RAF VALLEY, ANGLESEY – Flight Lt Wales (HRH Prince William), co-pilot Kate, Chaz and a 4th crew member (apologies for not catching your name)


Sally, Anne and Spin (OVMRO / SARDA) - for finding us and co-ordinating our safe exit

The other SAR teams deployed on the Glyderau

Pauline (OVMRO) - for supporting us back at Oggie Base and liaising with the police, mountain rescue teams and our emergency contact

Bob (OVMRO) – for providing a warm welcome at Oggie Base and giving us a lift back to our car after our eventful night

And finally…….

Our “worried friend” who prefers to remain nameless but deserves an accolade for raising the alarm – thank you again from the bottom of our hearts


What we did – appraised an emergency contact of a departure time, location, brief details of route and expected time of return
What we could have done better – provided a more detailed itinerary/schedule and clear instructions as to what to do in an emergency together with details of clothing worn and kit carried (helpful for mountain rescue teams to assess survivability, skill levels and aid identification etc.)

What we did – sufficient clothing and footwear worn and additional clothing carried to survive the climate (including waterproofs, spare gloves and hats); carried an emergency bothy and survival bags, emergency lights, full first aid kit and all other relevant equipment for general mountain walking and surviving an emergency night out in the hills; a full change of clothing and footwear was also left in our car to be used as necessary on our return
What we could have done better – crampons and ice axes would have significantly reduced the delays in negotiating the icy slopes, provided much safer and securer footholds and minimised the risk of potentially serious falls; the ensuing weather conditions were not forecast and the extent of snow and ice on the summit ridge had not shown on mountain reports but full winter equipment would have been advisable at this time of year “just in case”

What we did – after finding the best sheltered site we immediately deployed the bothy and one of us used a survival bag; due to lack of space in the 2-man bothy the rucksacks were then positioned strategically outside to act as support and windbreaks after selecting necessary food, drinks and equipment to sustain us through the night
What we could have done better – a larger bothy would have allowed us to keep the rucksacks inside the shelter allowing us access to kit at all times and providing a slightly less cramped space; the use of 2 survival bags (i.e. one each) at the outset would have provided further insulation from the cold and protection from the damp created by the condensation inside the bothy

What we did – carried an Expedition compass, Garmin GPS and 5 mobile phones on 3 networks, a laminated route map with additional laminated OS extracts, spare maps, hand held torches, a distress light and mountain whistles; continually reviewed our route and plan as the day/night progressed always ensuring we still had a contingency plan
What we could have done better – may consider investing in a satellite mobile phone or a PLB (Personal Locating Beacon), an emergency transmitting device which uses a frequency monitored for distress signals and enables a location to be precisely pinpointed in areas of poor/no mobile signal; full OS mapping on the Garmin GPS would have been extremely advantageous for increased reassurance and accuracy in route finding across the Glyder ridge in the atrocious weather conditions; we will also carry additional laminated map sections in a map case with copies in each rucksack in case of maps being lost, damaged or blown away in high winds; an earlier start time would have afforded additional daylight hours and directional LED head torches would have been preferable as the light started to fail towards the end of the day to illuminate the route

What we did – carried a variety of isotonic drinks and high carb meals and snacks including a flask of hot coffee, jelly babies, Mars bars and chocolate raisins (excellent for rationing purposes), ensuring some were easily accessible on the outside of our packs; additional food and hot/cold drinks were also left in the car for our return (NB – we did not use camelbaks or similar as these would have been susceptible to freezing, thus rendering the contents undrinkable)
What we could have done better – an additional flask would have enabled more generous rationing of hot liquids overnight  

Mountain environments are unpredictable so careful planning and preparation is essential – it is impossible to be overprepared!

“It’s always further than it looks.
It’s always taller than it looks.
And it’s always harder than it looks.”

The 3 rules of mountaineering
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
Edmund Hillary
“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
Ed Viesturs (No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks)
“Take only pictures; leave only footprints.”
Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion...I go to them as humans go to worship. From their lofty summits I view my past, dream of the future and, with an unusual acuity, am allowed to experience the present moment...my vision cleared, my strength renewed. In the mountains I celebrate creation.
On each journey I am reborn.”
Anatoli Boukreev